To soar beyond the clouds

That which is Pony inspires us all, from whatever corner of the world as we know it.

The musician known to us as MelodicPony, who crafted this lovely bit of orchestration in 2013, has died, the victim of a stroke. He was twenty-seven.

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Seemingly authoritative

This was waiting for me the last time I signed into Quora:

You are now a Most Viewed Writer in Bronies

This despite obviously not having been on Quora in a couple of weeks.

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Serious pony

There has been a great deal of flapdoodle in recent years over the Hugo Awards, and the politicization of same. I can’t be sure if politics were involved in this nomination — I’m thinking a definite maybe — but just the same, there it is, up for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)

This Season Five opener was downright jaw-dropping, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Starlight Glimmer.

(The complete list of finalists.)

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A bond that cannot be undone

The Equestrian outpost in France has turned loose this song:

There’s not a quadruped to be heard anywhere in the video, which is fine with me. And if your French is even worse than mine, voici une traduction. Bonus points if you can determine/remember the source of this post title.

(Inevitably, via EQD.)

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They don’t look fast

Lee Ann — you remember Lee Ann, don’t you? — sent me a link to these, presumably because she thought I’d hurl:

MLP Rainbow Shoes

The source of this image assures us that they have “no clue where this picture came from.” And I wonder how old it is, since that’s clearly a Generation Three Rainbow Dash, who wasn’t particularly fast; for that matter, she wasn’t even a pegasus in G3.

And pulling the fabric over the back of the heel like that? What’s that all about?

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Not approved by Mayor Mare

Someone following Ted Cruz around before the Iowa caucuses filed this report:

I’ve just jumped from a hay bale to the upper rung of a bleacher seat — it’s the only way I can see Cruz, surrounded by fans, cameras and boom mics. Now I’m looking down, and the Texan with slicked-back hair, a rugged outdoorsman’s jacket and hiking shoes is talking about ponies. “What’s your favorite My Little Pony?” Cruz asks his tiny supporter, a little girl who is wearing a Rainbow Dash beanie. “Twilight,” she says.

“I have two daughters, and they love Twilight,” Cruz says, before adding, with a grin: “My favorite, though, is Applejack. I just think she’s funny.”

You know, sugarcube, that Rarity isn’t going to play so well in Des Moines, or however the buck they pronounce it.

I missed that piece when it first came out, but local political whiz Peter J. Rudy was happy to toss it in my general direction. Of course, I was ready:

Of course, this only extends so far: it wouldn’t matter, for instance, if Mike Huckabee not only could identify all three Dazzlings by name but also knew all the major plot points of My Little Dashie.

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The Derpsichorean muse

The first day of March, as usual, is Derpy Day; that Super Tuesday business just happened to fall on top of it this year. As you might expect, Equestria Daily has a bunch of Derpy-related items on display for the occasion, but the one I found myself coming back to was this little 15-cm sculpture by frozenpyro71:

Derpy sculpture by frozenpyro71

This project, says the artist, was fraught with frustration:

You have no idea how close I was to shelving this little nightmare of a project. I must have broken her wings in nearly a dozen places during sculpting/painting, they are so very fragile.

She has a wonderfully cartoon-y look here; somehow I see her as performing a dance step that nopony else would ever dare.

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Ol’ Bacon Hair is back

So I was thumbing through Tumblr pics on the general theme of “Happy and Vaguely Artistic Nudes,” and suddenly I was propelled through time and space to a body of water not far from Canterlot High.

I mean, is this, or is this not, Sunset Shimmer?

Cropped section of nude photo that looks vaguely like Sunset Shimmer of Equestria Girls

This is the full-jaybird version, probably not safe for work, and definitely not safe for work if you scroll down to the “More You Might Like” section.

I’m going to have to start watching for Sonata Dusk.

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WWPD?

Provoked by that gratuitous pony reference in that Jack Baruth article I cited earlier, I waited until about 500 comments had accumulated, and then threw in this observation:

A friend insists that Twilight Sparkle would drive a Volvo; I see her as more of a Honda Civic (and not a Civic Si, either) type.

Applejack, however, is destined for an F-150.

The response I got was nowhere near what I was expecting:

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what year F-150?

To which I replied:

2010. I figure AJ would be unimpressed by all that aluminum stuff, so she’d want the previous generation — but she’s also not the sort to buy a new model in its first year, either.

This is, of course, my headcanon. Your mileage may vary.

The last all-steel F-150 generation was introduced in, yes, 2009.

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The pony you wanted to be

Let’s imagine, for example, that it was Rarity:

Rarity kimono dress by Darling Army

Also offered, once production resumes: Derpy, Celestia, Luna, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and perhaps Fluttershy, generally in the $150-175 range. My inner 9-year-old girl is in Full Squee.

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Bluntly speaking

British-American actress Emily Blunt — she was born in London, but took US citizenship last year — turns 33 next week, and she’s been working almost constantly for over a decade, though I didn’t catch her until 2006, in The Devil Wears Prada. (Stanley Tucci, also in Devil, is in Real Life™ married to Emily’s sister Felicia.)

Emily Blunt on the red carpet

In 2010, she married John Krasinski; they have a daughter and are expecting a second child this year.

Emily Blunt on the floor

And this family stuff may have suggested to her a side career as a voice actress: she voiced Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet (2010), she’ll be heard this year in something called Animal Crackers, no relation to the Marx brothers’ original, and next year we (at least I) will hear her as an as-yet-unidentified character, presumably equine, in an actual My Little Pony movie.

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What the well-dressed hooves are wearing

Found by Fillyjonk on Polyvore, and contemplated by yours truly for entirely too long:

My Little Pony peep-toe pump

Description:

Headed to Equestria, dames? A darling pair of My Little Pony platform pumps, these vegan heels are fashioned in a charming cosmic celestial motif, boasting a peep toe, sleek 4.75 inch heel, 1 inch hidden platform and PU rubber outsole. Let your imagination run wild!

Unique Vintage has these very shoes for $64, or however much that is in bits.

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Fonts of non-wisdom

Typefaces in the news! (And how often do you see that?)

Font Brothers America has a perfectly dreadful set called Generation B, which has been used on almost everything Hasbro has issued from this generation of My Little Pony. Font Brothers is now suing Hasbro for, according to the legal filing [pdf], not less than $150,000 per infringement. This is a hell of a lot of money, especially considering that Font Brothers apparently was bragging about Hasbro’s use of the typeface before this legal farrago.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Highway Administration, which approved the use of the Clearview font on highway signs in place of the traditional Highway Gothic, has now rescinded that approval, pointing out that much of the improved legibility attributed to Clearview was actually due simply to having new signs made. Worse, on hazard signs, Clearview offers no improvement and may make matters worse. Fortunately, no one’s going to have to go back and retrofit the signs they’ve already replaced once.

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It’s all in the name

Hmmm. A “big philosophical hole in the Ponyverse”:

How do parents ponies pre-know the talent of their newborns? In many cases, the name seems to be very reflective of the talent, or of their eventual mark. I think if I were making up the universe I’d have the ponies be given one name at birth, and then take on another — kind of like how some Christian groups do baptismal names or confirmation names — when they do figure out their talent.

I, for one, would like to know Mrs Cake’s maiden name.

Actually, I’ve wrestled with this question before, outside the context of pony — how, exactly, did Thomas Crapper end up in the toilet business? — and there’s enough of this sort of thing to justify a philosophical discussion:

Also referred to as “aptronyms”, New Scientist journalist John Hoyland coined the term “nominative determinism” for these strange cases of people who seem inexorably drawn to their profession by virtue of their name.

He was led to the subject after a being alerted to a scientific paper by authors JW Splatt and D Weedon on the subject of incontinence, on the same day as seeing a book on the Arctic by a Mr Snowman.

The idea has something of a history, with psychologist Karl Jung suggesting in his 1952 book, Synchronicity, that there was a “sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man’s name and his peculiarities”.

And there exists an entire wiki of persons with aptronymic names.

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Strong as a horse, so to speak

Daniel Ingram, who writes all those daffily infectious (or infectiously daffy) songs for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has opened many career doors, and maybe blocked one:

I’ve been approached by some really unexpected clients as a result of MLP’s wide-reaching success. From large companies like Cirque du Soleil and Netflix to just unexpected people like Frank Zappa’s son, Ahmet, reaching out to congratulate me. I just finished a song for a hotel chain in Brazil because their marketing guy is a brony. MLP has opened up doors to write for some pretty cool celebrities too including “Weird Al” Yankovic and 2014 Tony Award winner Lena Hall. But the marketability is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had a lot of success getting work writing music for children’s television, but I’ve struggled to find an agent that will take me seriously. I believe that will change in the next year or two. Anyone know a good songwriting agent?

By then, of course, he should have finished the MLP feature film, due fall 2017, which I suspect will mean the end of the TV series as well. In the meantime, though, he’s put some utterly fab stuff on his CV, including this Season Two delight that’s clearly not kid stuff:

Nonpareil, as the pony says. (Sam Vincent, who voiced either Flim or Flam — who can tell?¹ — was thinking of another animal: the song, he said, was an absolute bear to learn.)

¹ Just kidding. He was Flim. In some of the foreign versions, though, the same VA sang both Flim and Flam.

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Ol’ Blank Flank is back

Quelle surprise:

Hillary Clinton in pony form

Note the total absence of a cutie mark. As teacher Cheerilee explains:

A cutie mark appears on a pony’s flank when he or she finds that certain something that makes them different from every other pony.

Not gonna happen in her lifetime: never a leader, always a follower, and what she follows mostly are the twin scents of money and power. Like most of the competition, in fact.

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One step toward Red

I don’t know anyone who’s signed up for YouTube’s Red service, which allows consumption of, one assumes, mass quantities of media for a monthly subscription fee. And up to this point, YouTube’s actual revenues from yours truly equaled the proverbial goose egg. Still, some things are worth paying for, and as an experiment — and in my capacity as a longtime non-subscriber to Discovery Family, which the cable company has pushed out to some far-distant Nosebleed Tier — I put up some coin of the realm yesterday to watch the newest episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a show-business fable titled “The Mane Attraction,” ever-so-slightly based on George du Maurier’s Trilby. (The manipulative manager is named “Svengallop,” fercryingoutloud.) We’re talking $1.99, or $2.99 for actual HD. Mostly, I was curious to see how convoluted paying for an episode would be.

As it happens, the answer to that was “Not very,” since I already had a Google Wallet specified: two buttons, and the deed was done. (Your mileage may vary.) They are offering a season ticket — 26 episodes for approximately the price of ten — so I may do that for Season Six. After all, one must support the content creators at some level, and paying the cable company an extra $200 a year is not a level I’d consider useful.

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No weirder than Steven Magnet

And Hasbro has put their imprimatur on it, so it must be so:

MLP game card featuring the changeling from Slice of Life

EqD suggests M. A. Larson had something to do with this. I’d believe that, maybe, if the little buglet had extra wings.

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Local pony fan supported

From way back in the day:

The Brony Thank You Fund is now raising funds to start a permanent animation scholarship to Calarts, the school where such people as Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, and Tim Burton got their start, among many, many others.

And we have, for the first time, a winner:

As folks may recall, the Brony Thank You Fund endowed a permanent scholarship at the California Institute of the Arts a year ago, the Derpy Hooves Scholarship in Character Animation. We have just been informed by CalArts that the first recipient is Thirla Alagala, a third-year student. She took the time to give a shout out in her Tumblr, complete with her own version of Derpy. She says that she’d love to hear from the brony community, and we look forward to seeing her in the credits of some great animation once she graduates!

Smiles? We got some. Pass the muffins.

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Roll playing

The ponies of Equestria presumably have no problem getting toilet paper:

A bit of TPing on Nightmare Night

Meanwhile, the humans of Chile have had to deal with collusion between the two largest makers of the stuff:

Chilean anti-trust regulators have charged two of the country’s biggest toilet paper manufacturers with taking part in a price-fixing scheme to corner the market for sanitary tissue and other products between 2000 and 2011, officials said Thursday.

The alleged scheme has outraged Chileans, who in the past have also been victims of price-fixing scandals involving chicken and prescription drugs.

According to economic investigators, CMPC Tissue and SCA Chile colluded to share out the market and fix the price of toilet paper rolls and other paper products.

The two firms controlled about 90 percent of the market for toilet paper. Then again, at least there was a market; to the north, in Venezuela, there has been chaos.

(Via Fausta’s blog.)

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